Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Anarchic Loon Invasion

The media is becoming increasing obsessed with the potential for public disorder during the G8 protests in July. I've just listened to a good 15 minutes worth of speculation on this very issue on Newsnight Scotland. The first point I should make is that I'm sure there will be a group of people who are intent on causing public disorder during the protests. They will be a tiny minority. The overwhelming majority of people will demonstrate peacefully and lawfully. The media have their own reasons for concentrating their attentions on the extremist fringe, and those reasons are often rather more complicated than a first glance would suggest. I'm going to avoid that particular hot potato for the moment and concentrate on another institution which has a vested interest in overstating the extremist involvement in the protests.

Yes, it's that bastion of honesty and integrity, Her Majesty's Government (forgive me if I'm preaching to the converted here). New Labour under our great leader do not want you to protest in Edinburgh or anywhere else. If a million people turn up only to be told that it's pretty much business as usual, it'll be embarrassing for the government. Blair knows Bush doesn't intend to give the kind of commitment needed to affect radical change. What's more, Blair himself doesn't intend to give that kind of commitment. The recent announcement of an increase in aid to 0.7% of GDP by 2015 is just another example of posture politics. It's a long standing commitment which should have been met years ago. No, the government don't want you there because they'd find it all a bit awkward and uncomfortable.

And so, they are more than happy to play up the extremist fringe elements. It's going to be anarchy out there. Your children will be in danger. Fighting, stone throwing, fires, overturned cars, riots beatings, bombs, tear gas...
Stay in your homes!

And many potential protestors probably will stay at home. This will suit the government right down to the ground. Groundswell, what groundswell?
Y'see, the only way the current situation is going to even begin to change is if a million people do march peacefully on Edinburgh and Gleneagles. This will be something extraordinary, something unique, and something very difficult to ignore. One million people protesting for radical change to the international economic system. The government doesn't want that. They're happy to posture and to tinker round the edges.
So stay in your homes!

Now that you've read the above you're either thinking
a) Tell me something I don't know.
b) I never thought of it like that.
c) Why am I reading this conspiracy nut job's rantings?

If it's c) you should know it's not about to get any better. I'm inclined to believe there's more too it than I've mentioned here, but I'll leave that for another post.
Here's a link to get flavour of it though.

Anyway, the point is that this type of thinking tends to provide a framework for me when I read certain news reports. Yesterdays P&J has a striking headline on it's front page:

Police Will Protect Oil Firms From G8 Attacks
The first minister has told north-east oil firms they will be protected from G8 protesters. During a visit to Aberdeen yesterday, Jack McConnell responded to fears that militant campaigners could target major oil companies as part of anti-capitalism protests timed to coincide with the world leaders' summit being held at Gleneagles in Perthshire next month.
Holy crap, that sounds scary. Stay in your homes!
But wait a minute, Mr McConnell was responding to fears from who exactly?
Perhaps it's these fears:
But terrorism expert David Capitanchick has warned north-east oil firms could be attacked by anti-capitalist activists. The Aberdeen University academic said multinational oil companies were prime targets for anti-globalisation demonstrations.
You see, it's so serious we need to consult an expert in terrorism. Terrorists, activists, protestors, demonstrators, they're all the same, every one intent on coming to blow us to smithereens.
Stay in your homes!

Aberdeen is actually quite a long way from Gleneagles (the hotel is marked A) but I suppose it is convievable that a group of radical activists could make the trip north. Seems an indecently long way to travel when there's so much stuff to blow up in the central belt. Still, it is possible, an expert in terrorism said so.
Stay in your homes! No-one is safe from the anarchic loon invasion.

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